What is Cloudflare?
Cloudflare is a publicly traded company that provides a suite of services aimed at enhancing the performance, security, and reliability of websites and online applications. It operates as a content delivery network (CDN), reverse proxy, and DNS provider, offering a range of features to optimize and protect websites. The basic premise is that you point your domain name to Cloudflare as an intermediary between users and your website host.
Cloudflare acts as a reverse proxy by sitting between the website server and the user’s browser. This positioning allows Cloudflare to filter and inspect incoming traffic, blocking malicious requests, spam, and DDoS attacks. It employs various security measures, including web application firewall (WAF) rules and rate limiting, to safeguard websites from common threats.
Cloudflare also offers DNS services, allowing website owners to manage their domain’s DNS records efficiently. This includes features like DNSSEC, which adds an extra layer of security to the DNS infrastructure. SSL/TLS encryption is also applied to enable secure HTTPS connections, protecting the confidentiality and integrity of data transmitted between visitors and the website server.
Overall, Cloudflare acts as a protective shield and performance booster for websites, helping to ensure their availability, security, and fast loading times. It is widely used by businesses of all sizes, including small websites, large enterprises, and even internet giants, to improve their online presence and user experience. It can be particularly beneficial for small to medium-sized websites that may not have the resources or infrastructure to handle large-scale DDoS attacks or optimize performance on their own. The free plan is typically sufficient.